Why Obama Suddenly Took on ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’

A gay conservative credits the liberal gay blogosphere for moving President Obama on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell this year:

It certainly wasn’t the Human Rights Campaign, which has been playing a game of make-nice with Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration. Its leader, Joe Solmonese, ever quick to criticize Republicans when they fall short on gay issues, has been tepid in his criticism of the president when Obama failed to keep campaign promises to the gay community. No wonder ABC News’ Rick Klein, in his October list of the “10 Least Powerful People in DC,” pegged “Gay-rights advocates” at No. 7, citing in particular Obama’s failure to repeal DADT despite repeated promises to do so.

If the HRC’s strategy had been effective, the administration would have long ago begun the process of repealing DADT.

It may instead have been an effort by a coterie of liberal bloggers and activists calling “for a temporary moratorium on DNC donations” who made the administration realize there was a price for its inaction.

The fledgling movement, which adopted the motto “Don’t Ask, Don’t Give” and has attracted the likes of legendary gay rights activist David Mixner, aimed at discouraging donations to the party until the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the repeal of both “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Mostly left-of-center bloggers at such sites as Pam’s House Blend, Queerty and AmericaBlogGay pressed their readers to boycott the Democratic Party.

Their actions generated a lot of heat in the community, culminating in a cover story in the Advocate, a monthly gay newsmagazine. And threatened with this loss of revenue from some of their most reliable (and affluent) supporters, the Obama administration surely realized it needed to act quickly on one of those issues, lest it lose a significant chunk of its financial support and alienate some of the party’s most enthusiastic backers.

So, this gay conservative blogger’s hat is off to his fellows on the other side of the political aisle. Unlike the heads of the establishment gay organizations, they didn’t kowtow to the leaders of the political party they prefer and refused to accept their promises of action on some undefined date in the future.

A number of other gay bloggers/Netroots were just as instrumental. You can find Don’t Ask Don’t Give here.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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